By now almost everyone knows that the world is coming to an end on Saturday, May 21.
The prophecy of doomsday forecaster Harold Camping has been plastered on billboards all across the United States. His followers are handing out flyers proclaiming the coming end of the world at street fairs, conventions, and even inside of Las Vegas casinos.
Camping, who says he determined the date of Armageddon by deciphering a code hidden in the Bible, predicts the end will come at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
At first, I assumed this must be dated to Jerusalem time because, well, Jerusalem plays a pretty big role in the Bible.
Jerusalem is seven hours head of New York, which means Armageddon would hit Wall Street at around 11 a.m. Eastern. Time enough to get in a quick round of golf before everything goes up in holy smoke.
Or maybe Eden time, where it all started. We don't know where Eden was, either because it wasn't ever a real place or because God or history have shrouded its location. But most biblical scholars imagine it was in modern-day Iraq. If that's accurate, then we'd still be looking at an 11 a.m. tee-time for the end of the world.
Another possibility would be 6 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time or, if God has been keeping up with these things, Coordinated Universal Time. Either way, we're looking at a 6 p.m. Armageddon striking at 1 p.m., which means you'd have to make your lunch reservations early if you expect to finish your last meal.
As it turns out, none of these is correct.
Armageddon isn't going to happen all at once, according to an interview with Camping on the Atlantic's website. It is going to be a rolling Armageddon, hitting at 6 p.m. everywhere. God, in Camping's view, is a respecter of time zones.
This means that the first place to witness Armageddon will be the International Date Line. Pacific places like Pago Pago, Nuku'alofa, and Tonga will get the first glimpse of the ever after. And the United States will be one of the first witnesses to the end of the world, thanks to the positioning of American Samoa.
This means that Rapture will begin at around 2 a.m. Saturday morning, just in time for a late night cocktail in memory of the world that was.
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